RABAT, Morocco —U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and a bipartisan Congressional delegation today commended the strong U.S.-Morocco partnership after meeting with Youssef Amrani, Secretary General of the Moroccan Foreign Ministry, and Mohammed Tricha, Director of Internal Affairs at the Ministry of Interior. (Photos available here. and video here.)
“Morocco’s consistent actions to hold suspected terrorists to account, increase trade opportunities, and play an active role in multilateral organizations, like the Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe, make it a leader among North African nations,” Chairman Cardin said. “Our visit here demonstrates the importance of our bilateral relationship and the valuable voice Morocco brings to discussions of international security.”
“In three days of bilateral meetings with government officials, Moroccan citizens and college students, we have seen why the Kingdom of Morocco is such a valued partner to the United States,” said Commissioner Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS). “The local students we met who put in extra hours to expand their education or learn English show hope for a country with excessive illiteracy rates and genuine concerns that the economic crisis will lead unemployed youth to fall prey to terrorist recruiters.”
“Morocco’s recent conviction of an accomplice to the Madrid train bombings further shows the strength of the partnership between our two countries and the faith all countries should have in Rabat to help combat terrorism, particularly Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” said Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS).
The delegation, hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Sam Kaplan, also met with the Ambassador of the King Serge Berdugo, toured U.S. outreach efforts in urban and rural areas, met with Peace Corps volunteers, health care personnel, and elected leaders of parliament and city council.
“With more women than ever now serving as city councilors and mayors across the country, Morocco’s recent advances for women’s rights show a beneficial path other countries of the Islamic world should consider following,” Congresswoman Laura Richardson (D-CA) said. “Strength at elections, followed by further improvements in the fields of education, health care, and economics demonstrate that when women are fully engaged all share in Morocco’s promising future.”
The delegation led by Sen. Cardin is also joined by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL). They will visit a naval base and hold bilateral meetings in Spain en route to the Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in Vienna Feb. 18-19.